Will Apple's iPhone 6 offer a scratch-resistant sapphire screen? That question has beenby Apple watchers. But at least one analyst doesn't see it in his crystal ball.
In an investors note released Thursday and picked up by AppleInsider, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said he doesn't expect a sapphire cover to grace the screens of the rumored 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch iPhone 6 units. Sapphire is already used on the surface of the Touch ID fingerprint sensor and the rear camera lens of the iPhone 5S and could expand further with the new models, but just not to the screen, according to Kuo.
A sapphire screen would add extra appeal to the new iPhone as the material is considered by many to be tougher and more scratch-proof than the Gorilla Glass currently used by Apple. But manufacturing and cutting sapphire glass into the right size is an expensive process, posing a challenge for a company that would need to mass produce millions of iPhones.
Assuming Kuo is on the money about the lack of a sapphire screen, what other features may lure in iPhone 6 buyers?
The analyst does expect Apple to offer a 128GB variant of the next iPhone, a jump from the current maximum size of 64GB. The company already offers 128GB as an option for its iPad lineup. But with more users storing their music and other content via iCloud, would a 128GB iPhone grab enough buyers? That depends in large part on the price tag. The 64GB iPhone 5S sells for $399, so a 128GB edition would probably go for $499.
Kuo sees other items in store for the new iPhone, according to AppleInsider, including a barometric pressure sensor and a health-related feature that can measure your lung function. A programmable power button may also be on the way.
Finally, the analyst believes Apple will unveil both the 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch iPhones at next Tuesday's launch event. But he doesn't expect the larger 5.5-inch phablet to be available to the mass public until later this year.
CNET will host a live blog of Apple's launch event on Tuesday, September 9.